Gloucester Lobster Poacher Nabbed

On Friday, November 2, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers from the North Coastal Bureau conducted a joint operation with officers from the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement and Gloucester Police Department in Gloucester, MA. Officers had responded after they received numerous complaints of illegal lobster fishing in both state and federal waters. Through the course of the investigation, officers identified the fishing vessel, Shearwater, and its operator James Santapaola Jr., as a suspect in the illegal landing of undersized lobsters.

At approximately 3:00 pm, officers observed Santapaola return to Gloucester Harbor and offload 5 totes of lobsters into his vehicle. Officers conducted an inspection of his catch, approximately 600 pounds, and identified several violations including 28 undersized, 16 V-Notch/mutilated, and 3 oversized lobsters.

Santapaola was arrested and transported to Gloucester Police Station for processing. The illegal lobsters were returned to the waters of the Commonwealth. The investigation is currently ongoing.